Currently, Congress is debating, behind closed doors, the adoption of 2 provisions to the 2007 Energy Bill that can greatly impact our ability to make America more energy independent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution, save consumers money, create jobs and spark economic growth.
The first is the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) Standard of 35 mpg for cars and trucks by 2020. The second is the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which calls for 15% of the nation’s electricity to be generated by renewable resources by 2020.
Why support the Renewable Electricity Standard?According to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, renewable energy solutions are both sustainable environmentally and economically. The RES provision has the potential to jump-start new clean energy economy and create tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs in things like wind and solar manufacturing and installation. For this reason, it has the strong support of the United Steelworkers.
RES will create thousands of megawatts of new clean renewable electricity generation, decreasing the amount of natural gas we useâ€”lowering prices for consumers on their home heating bills and also benefiting industrial users.
Furthermore, RES is doable – two dozen states that have already put their own Renewable Electricity Standard into place. In fact, many states have moved to establish standards of 30 percent or moreâ€”demonstrating that the 15 percent plan proposed in this bill is an achievable compromise that all states can meet.
Why is supporting the 35 mpg CAFE standard important?
Supporting the 35 mpg CAFE standard will help us curb our addition to a fossil-fuel based source that is increasingly expensive, causes pollution, and is also from highly volatile areas such as the Persian Gulf. This dependence is both unstable and unsustainable.
Furthermore, improving CAFE standards to 35 mpg by 2020 – 13 years from now – will give us better gas mileage, thus, more bang for the buck. This way we can keep more money in our wallets, drive cleaner cars, and thus become less dependent on war and pollution causing oil.
According to the UCS study on Clean Vehicles and Fuel Economy, far from destroying auto jobs, CAFE would create 22,300 jobs in the auto industry alone by 2020â€”and a total of 170,800 jobs by 2020. The CAFE provision would also save consumers nearly $25 billion at the pump in 2020, according to UCS.
Auto-Industry Lies – Et Tu Toyota?
The Big Three automakers and Toyota are lobbying to kill the Senate version and replace it with a loophole-laden compromise called the Hill-Terry bill that calls for 32 to 35 m.p.g. by 2022. Rather than innovate their fleets to become more fuel efficient, they would rather spend $ millions in advertising to convince the public that attaining the 35 mpg standard is bad for consumers and the environment, and that CAFE kills.
While the auto industry has argued for years that fuel-efficiency would compromise public safety due to the need to build smaller, lighter vehicles, according to an October 2007 article in Scientific American, new engine and transmission technologies could enable manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency without significantly cutting vehicle weights.
In spite of the fact that Toyota currently has the technology to make cars that achieve 55 mpg, Toyota’s refusal to step up to the plate and support the 35 mpg CAFE standard has evoked the wrath of environmentalist groups like the NRDC who now question “How Green is Toyota?” That the maker of the Prius could support the Hill-Terry compromise, which according to UCS, would actually cause us to use 700,000 more barrels each day, feels like sheer betrayal.
Is the auto industry genuinely concerned about the economic well-being of American consumers and our ability to get around as cheaply as possible? Hmmm.
In 1922, General Motors dismantled mass transit across the U.S., bought up trolley systems through its subsidiary National City lines, gutted them and tore up all the tracks. GM joined tire manufacturers, construction companies, and oil companies to lobby for Congress for development of a national highway system, which has defined urban development over the last 90 years. It helped that GM’s president Charles Wilson became secretary of defense and Frances DuPont became the federal highway administrator. Thus America became a oil-addicted, nation of drivers.
With Bush and his Big Oil cohorts in power threatening veto, ordinary Americans may be up for another round of seriously getting screwed. Therefore, it’s up to us to take action and DEMAND a clean, energy future NOW.
Take Action and Support a Strong, Clean Energy Bill for 2007
Instead of making the richest companies in the world richer, this energy bill will benefit consumers and working Americans, make us less dependent on foreign oil and better global citizens. Here are simple actions you can take to lobby Congress for a cleaner, greener future:
- THIS IS IMPORTANT! Sign this petition and pass it on: Energy Bill 2007
- Meet other clean energy activists online: Energy Bill 2007 Group on Facebook
- Tell Toyota, “Shame On You” and get your friends to tell Toyota to support 35 mpg now.
By lobbying Congress to adopt strong energy efficiency measures in the 2007 Energy Bill, we can lower emissions and use less energy in the years to come â€”saving governments, businesses, schools, and consumers money. Energy efficiency is an energy resource just like anything else and is much cheaper than even coal-fired power generation. We must look to energy efficiency as another solution for our energy needs, while at the same time ramping up the amount of electricity we get from renewables. This is our only way we can guarantee a clean, green future for ourselves and future generations.
[tags]new energy bill, energy bill 2007, cafe, cafe standard, corporate average fuel economy, renewable electricity standard, res, hill-terry, clean tech, fuel efficiency, fuel economy, global warming [/tags]